Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Wedding Dress Rental: One Special Day Needn’t Stuff Your Closet Forever

What’s white, covered with lace, used once and has an average cost of $1211? If your answer was the American wedding dress, you’d be correct. While we have nothing against the institution of marriage, the marital-industrial complex has become so powerful, so inflated, that many couples have become convinced they need to spend an average of $28K on their weddings according to a 2012 survey by The Knot and The Wedding Channel. While some expenses, like the $12K for venue, might be tough to save on, the wedding dress–a bulky, single-purpose, single-use, non-transferable hunk of lace, silk and taffeta–is a perfect place for cost-cutting.


The Japanese–as they are wont to do–have a solution: rent your wedding dress. According to Rocket News 24 of Japan, the practice has become quite popular. The cost of the dress is actually worked into the overall cost of the wedding venue, many of which keep a bank of dresses at their disposal. The dresses are not necessarily cheap, costing as much as 150,000 yen ($1,450), though that’s for a high end dress that’d probably cost ten times that amount–a bargain if you’re into that kinda thing.

The practice, while not common, is done in the US. We visited Rent the Runway and they had a few options, all top designers and under $200 for a rental (though most looked like white evening dresses rather than traditional wedding dresses…not that that’s a bad thing). If you’re in LA, One Night Affair does high end wedding dress rentals. In fact, it seems like the best bet is to do a local, not national, search for rental places.

There is also Little Borrowed Dress, which specializes in bridesmaid dresses. They offer sets of dresses in a set number of styles and fabrics (12 and 18), in cuts that are “designed to fit and flatter all body types.”

Rather than cheaping out (not that cheaping out is a bad thing), renting a wedding dress, at least in Japan, is a reflection of care, as Rocket News states:

Some Japanese women we spoke to said that the very reason they want to rent their wedding dress is because of how important the ceremony is. Obviously, if we’re talking about the exact same item, it’s cheaper to rent than it is to buy. Just as there are companies that rent high-end sports cars to drivers who could never afford to buy one, choosing to rent a wedding dress gives the bride access to designers and quality far beyond what she could purchase at that price point.

Makes sense to us. And the ability to return the dress when you’re done–not carting it from house to house, storing it in a plastic bag, never to be worn again (a practice all too common in the American home)–is a big bonus.

Wedding image via Shutterstock